Access EC2 Linux box over ssh without .pem file

1. Login to your EC2 instance using your .pem file

ssh -i your_pem_file.pem

2. Create a new user that will access the instance using a password:

$ sudo useradd -s /bin/bash -m -d /home/USERNAME  -g root USERNAME


  • -/bin/bash : use /bin/bash as the standard shell
  • --/home/USERNAME : create a home directory at /home/USERNAME
  • -g root : add to group root
  • USERNAME : the username of the new user

3. Create a strong password for the new user:

$ sudo passwd USERNAME
Enter new UNIX password:
Retype new UNIX password:

4. Add user to sudoers file by using sudo visudo and add the following line:


5. Enable password authentication by editing /etc/ssh/sshd_config: change PasswordAuthentication noto PasswordAuthentication yes

6. Restart ssh:

sudo /etc/init.d/ssh restart

Logout of your instance (exit) and try your new login without the .pem file:

$ ssh's password:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *